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Seekerville: The Journey Continues

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A Story is Born

A Story is Born

How well do you remember two years ago? Somewhere in the middle of March 2020 was one of those moments that change history...for better or for worse.

Now that we've had some time to digest what has happened over the past two years (and it hasn't always been pretty!) it's time to look back with some clear hindsight and realize how these months have changed our writing.

I know I'm not alone in this: The pandemic-that-shall-not-be-named* wasn't the only life-changing event that happened in 2020. Many of us had earth shaking happenings in our personal lives, too. Things that weren't related to the PTSNBN* threw us out of our groove, shut down our creativity, and either stopped us in our tracks or caused us to change directions.

A Story is Born

For me it provided the excuse to take a complete change in direction. I needed something new. Something to jump-start my creativity and get me excited about writing again.

But where should I start? 

The first thing was to decide on a genre. I love historical romance, but I had been down that road. I needed something new.

I looked at my Goodreads list - what books had I been reading? Which ones had I enjoyed the most? I realized that I love cozy mysteries - not exclusively - but I love reading them. 

A Story is Born


So the next step? I decided to try writing one. And a story was born.



The first question - the genre - was already decided. 

The setting? Easy. I looked out my office window and knew the Black Hills was perfect.

A Story is Born

The characters? It didn't take long for me to have my cast. In a mystery you need a sleuth, a sidekick, a lawman/woman, an interesting antagonist, and the all important bad guy. I also added in a mentor and a couple pets who are too smart for their own good.

Emma Blackwood (the sleuth) is an unemployed hotel manager who comes to the Black Hills to work in her aunt's upscale bed and breakfast, the Sweetbrier Inn.

A Story is Born
Shutterfly

Emma is smart, capable, and just a little bit OCD.

Becky Graves, her sidekick, is a fabulous baker and is related to just about everyone who lives in the small town of Paragon. Part Lakota and part Irish, she claims her ethnic background is a blend of the best the world has to offer.

I gave Emma a fun antagonist, too. Wil Scott is Rose's business partner and the chef at the Sweetbrier Inn. He and Emma get along like a couple of siblings who can't put their rivalries aside, but Emma says his cooking is to die for. Her favorite breakfast is Wil's Crème Brulée French Toast.

The lawman in the story is County Deputy Sheriff Cal Cooper. He also happens to be Becky's cousin (didn't I tell you everyone in Paragon is related?) Cal is a no-nonsense guy who reluctantly lets Emma work the case with him.

Emma's mentor is her Aunt Rose. Rose has a mysterious past that keeps Emma guessing. Her warm personality sets the tone for the inn. From the early morning breakfasts to the daily afternoon teas, the inn is Rose's baby. 

The pets are Rose's corgi, Thatcher, and Emma's young black cat named Tim. Don't worry - they get along with each other just fine.

A Story is Born

The setting of the Sweetbrier Inn is perfect for a cozy mystery because the cast of characters keeps changing for each book in the series. I have one set of guests for the first book and a completely different set for the second. New characters = new suspects.

A Story is Born
Shutterfly

Wait - did I forget to mention the bad guy? Sorry. No spoilers here. He/she/they will remain a mystery until the end of the book!

A Story is Born

With the changes in my writing, I was basically giving my career a makeover. I've developed a new brand, a new logo, and am working on a new website. 

Another big change is that these new books will be indie published, so I created my own publishing company - Swift Wings Press - with its own completely unnecessary but fun logo.

A Story is Born

The last thing - after selecting an editor (thank you Beth Jamison!) cover artist (thank you Hannah Linder!) formatting, etc. etc. (all the details of indie publishing) - was to select titles.

I always have a hard time coming up with titles. Then I remembered some of my favorite mysteries, and I was on my way.

"The Sign of the Calico Quartz" is the first book in the Sweetbrier Inn Series. I've set the publication date for May 25, 2022. 

The next book is "The Case of the Artist's Mistake," which will be coming out late summer 2022.

The third book is still in the works, but be assured Emma, Becky, Cal, and the rest of the gang will catch the bad guy in that one, too.

A Story is Born

How did the past two years affect your writing? Did it feel like you ran into a brick wall or did you feel like you had new ideas and energy?

And if you're still struggling to make some sense of what you're supposed to be doing with your writing through all of this, let us know so we can pray you through the slump. One thing I do know - you are not alone!!!



Revamping: strategies for success in a changing world

 

Revamping: strategies for success in a changing world


It’s been fourteen months since our world slammed into a brick wall.


Revamping: strategies for success in a changing world

Ouch!  

I don’t know about you, but for me the past year and a little more has been a lesson in digging deep into my character and finding out what I’m really made of.

There’s nothing like social and political upheaval to bring out the best…and worst…in us.

Sometimes I was appalled by what came out of my heart. Terrible things. I yelled at people (while I was in the shower,) and stomped my foot hard (when I was alone,) and even committed murder (okay, characters, not people, but the killing part was quirkily satisfying.)

But once I got past the idea that two weeks would bring us back to normal (about four months into our current situation,) I started pulling out the good stuff. Digging deep into my heart and tapping into the creative part of me that needed to pull up my big-girl panties and get on with life and my career.

Revamping: strategies for success in a changing world

 
So, what did I do?

First of all, I took a fresh look at my writing. In January and February 2020, I had two proposals rejected. It was time to reevaluate what I was doing.

Since I am in that miniscule minority that sold the first book I ever wrote and had steady contracts for the next nine years, I had never taken the time to explore different genres and different writing styles. So, I decided to write a mystery.

What did I know about writing a mystery? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero.

So in May 2020 I started learning. I read every cozy mystery I could get my hands on. I searched the internet for blog posts on writing mysteries. I sat down with that information and outlined a course of study. I spent three months developing my story, my characters, and a series idea.

In the summer I started writing. Fits and spurts. Do you remember the stereotype of the author typing a few words, ripping the paper from the typewriter in disgust, only to do the same thing with the next sheet of paper? That was me. So many false starts.

But slowly and surely the pieces fell into place, and now the story is almost finished.

Will I write another cozy mystery? I plan to, Lord willing. But I also want to continue writing historical romance (my first love!)

The biggest take-away from this experience is that I love writing again. Love it. It is no longer work, but a joy.

Revamping: strategies for success in a changing world

 
The other thing I’ve done to revamp my career is to analyze what was working and not working in my marketing strategies.

When I first started writing, everyone needed to have a blog. Remember those days?

And a website.

And then everyone had to have an author page on Facebook.

But time moves on. Facebook has changed (again – they’re always changing!) And Amazon changed (again!) And my new, big-girl-panties-wearing-self decided I had had enough.

After doing more research, I decided that I needed to quit relying on Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos to do my marketing for me. It was too expensive – not in cash, but in my sanity. Those two don’t know me, and they wouldn’t care if they did. They are looking out for their best interests, not mine.

I knew I needed to control my own marketing rather than relying on someone else.

So, I revamped my website, which is something I actually own and have control over (unlike social media,) and I started putting more content on my blog to make a visit to www.JanDrexler.com  worthwhile.

Revamping: strategies for success in a changing world

Instead of being the dog whose tail was being wagged by tech giants, I’m in control.

Now I use Facebook, MeWe, and my soon-to-be-revamped newsletter to market my website and books and to bring people to fresh and (hopefully!) entertaining content. Instead of being at the mercy of big tech companies, I’m using them to my advantage. It feels good.


All in all, the past year has been a hard one, but a good one. I will be reaping the benefits of my revamping strategies for years to come. Or at least until it is time to revamp again!



What changes have you made in your writing or in your life in the past year? Tell us about them!

One commenter will win a e-book copy of “A Home for His Family,” an historical romance set in the gold rush days of Deadwood.


Revamping: strategies for success in a changing world
About the story:

Nate Colby came to the Dakota Territory to start over, not to look for a wife. He'll raise his orphaned nieces and nephew on his own, even if pretty schoolteacher Sarah MacFarland's help is a blessing. But Nate resists getting too close—Sarah deserves better than a man who only brings trouble to those around him.
 
Sarah can't deny she cares for the children, but she can't let herself fall for Nate. Her childhood as an orphan taught her that opening her heart to love only ends in hurt. Yet helping this ready-made family set up their ranch only makes her long to be a part of it—whatever the risk.



 

 

Are You Thinking About a Change?


Are You Thinking About a Change?


 One of the basic rules for new authors is to stick to your genre. 

That’s good advice. When we’re just breaking into publishing there is very little that is more important than building a relationship of trust between you and your readers. Establishing your “brand” and sticking to it is key to acquiring a loyal readership.

Are You Thinking About a Change?

As we publish more stories, we can start broadening our brand. Many authors are able to wiggle to the right a bit or wiggle to the left and publish books that are almost like the stories their readers expect. They’re staying true to their brand, though. A Ruthy book is still a Ruthy book. A Mary Connealy book is still a Mary Connealy book. Erica’s new regency romance series is still all Erica.

We love that, don’t we? We know what to expect from our favorite authors. It’s like going to our stand-by restaurant and ordering something we’ve never tried before. We can do that because we trust the source. We’re pretty sure we’ll enjoy something new from them.


But what if an author wants to completely change genres?

Let’s explore this a bit.

All but two of the twelve books (soon to be thirteen) that I’ve published have been in the genre niche of Amish Historical Romance.

One of the two exceptions was “A Home for His Family,” but it didn’t wiggle too far away from my original niche – it was still Historical Romance. I call that a one-degree difference.

Are You Thinking About a Change?
This book is available here!


In the novella that was published in a collection by Bethany House in 2019, “An Amish Christmas Recipe Box,” I went one degree in a different direction, to Contemporary Amish Romance.

Are You Thinking About a Change?
This story is available here!
 
My readers followed me to those side-steps, but Amish story fans are a little different than other fans in that their loyalty tends to follow the genre rather than the author. So if I try to go very far afield, I risk losing them.

For example, what if I tried a story with a two-degree difference? Instead of Amish Historical Romance, I wrote Contemporary Western Romance? Do you see the two degrees?

If I did that, I would need to market my new story heavily because I’m not sure all my readers would follow me. Some would. After all, I would still be writing for the Christian market, and I would still be writing Romance.

But what if I took a completely different track?

Right now, I’m working on a Cozy Mystery aimed at the secular market.

What??? No Amish! No Romance! No Historical!

Doing something like that takes a LOT of deep thought and planning, and even more prayer.

Are You Thinking About a Change?

I had to ask myself a big question: How committed am I to this change?

When the idea first hit me a couple years ago, it sounded like fun. I’m a true Agatha Christie fan, both in print and on video. Some of my favorite authors are Dorothy Sayers and Arthur Conan Doyle. My favorite television shows include Murdoch Mysteries, Monk, and Midsomer Murders. I love picking up a new cozy mystery and curling up with it for an evening or two. Maybe I could try writing one!

That fun idea turned into an obsession. I’ve researched how to write mysteries, and cozies in particular. I’ve read every new title I could get my hands on. I even started planning my own cozy mystery series.

That’s when I knew I was hooked. Somehow, some-when, I would write this story.

But was I committed to starting my career over from scratch? That’s a scary proposition.

Are You Thinking About a Change?


Then I realized I wasn’t going to start MY career over. Jan Drexler would still write Amish Romances. Someone else was going to be the cozy mystery writer…I would need to adopt a pen name for this new genre.

Do you see how I skirted the problem of trying to take my readers with me from one genre to the next? My Amish romance readers will still be happy with my installments of Amish stories, either contemporary or historical. (I love those readers and don’t want to risk losing them!)

And this other person – I haven’t settled on a pen name yet – will be my alter-ego, happily murdering people in light-hearted stories.

By the way, that is the very weird thing about cozy mysteries – they are light-hearted stories with murder on the side.

Are You Thinking About a Change?


So, how do I market this new author?

First, I need a pen name (still in progress.)

Then a new website, Facebook page, Goodreads page, Amazon page, Bookbub… you’ve got it. All the marketing tools need to be re-done for this new author name.

Finally, a new marketing strategy. Breaking into the secular market is different than the homey world of Inspirational publishing I’ve enjoyed for the past nine years. I’ll have to learn the ropes in this sometimes cold, sometimes friendly world of secular publishing.


But before all that can even start, I must finish writing the first book.

And no, I’m not going to tell you who-done-it.

Are You Thinking About a Change?


So, I have to ask myself the big question again – how committed am I to taking on a new genre?

I knew I was going to follow the first story to the end when a plotting tangle kept me awake one night.

I was even more convinced I was sticking with it when I started writing the story and realized I was hiding details from my sleuth that I already knew – like the murderer’s name, method, and motivation – and thinking she would never guess.

When the setting and side characters became real in my mind, I knew I was ready.

Yes, I’m committed to giving this a try.



What about you? Have you ever changed genres, or thought about it?

Or if you are pre-published, have you decided which genre your stories fit in?



And let’s have a bit of fun in the comments! Every commenter will have their name in the drawing for a copy of “Convenient Amish Proposal.”

Are You Thinking About a Change?

If you include a suggestion for my new pen name in your comment, you’ll also be in the drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card. So suggest away!

Are You Thinking About a Change?






Book World Changes

Book World Changes as observed by Beth and Carrie of Seekerville

Hello, friends! Beth and Carrie here! Since our identities have frequently been mistaken for one another, and we practically live on the same brainwave to the extent that we might actually be sharing a brain, we’ve decided to join forces today and y’all can just use your imagination to figure out who says what.

Book World Changes
We mustache you... who is who? (see hint)
Stories have our hearts (well, Jesus AND stories but since He told stories it’s another reason to love them)! A life with books is far richer than one without them. Perhaps storytellers feel the same way about penning their tales. We’ve even read that avid fiction readers possess more empathy than the poor souls who don’t read (we truly feel awful for them, bless their hearts).

Perhaps we're feeling a bit sentimental since celebrating our blog birthdays last month on Faithfully Bookish and Reading Is My SuperPower (4 and 5 years, respectively) but now, more than ever, we realize life is always changing. We’re learning, we’re growing (older, stronger, wiser, softer, you name it), and we’re constantly, even subconsciously, adapting to the dynamics of the world around us.

We want to encourage y’all despite or perhaps because of the uncertainty surrounding us, to embrace the story. Good times, bad times, different times, make time to read (or write), and may the Holy Spirit minister to your story-loving heart no matter what season you find yourself in.

That said, we’re sharing some ways our reading/reviewing/blogging/publicity-ing worlds have changed over the last few weeks, some helpful workarounds if you’re in the same floating-aimlessly boat, and a bit of insight for authors who are wondering why certain formerly dependable readers seem to have fallen off the book planet. :)

Reading 


The world has shut down, we are staying home, we have endless reading time, right?! Unfortunately, no. Introverts have been social distancing since before it was celebrated as a life-saving act and those of us who work from home are literally professionals. Not only do we need to continue doing our work (more about that later) but we now have the added distraction of additional people or inevitable cabin fever to contend with. If you are reading more right now, we are delighted for you and if your reading time has taken a hit, know that you are not alone.

Life is Always ChangingWe recommend injecting stories into your day with audiobooks (these are also great for those “distracting other people” as well) or set aside time for a mental health break (yeah, that looks like reading for us). Need a family activity? Gather everyone around (on the couch or via video chat) and read aloud to each other!

There’s a binding of hearts and something healing about sharing stories during stressful times. Too tired for something new? Revisit a book on your “favorites shelf.” Give yourself permission to avoid certain titles due to emotional fatigue (or author pictures with poultry) or stinky binding adhesive.

Reviewing


Let’s be honest, writing reviews can be challenging under any circumstances. How do we find words to express the beauty of a reading experience? The swoofness is elusive, y’all! (btw, we’re talking about “Squeezing Words Out Of Feelings” if this is the first time y’all have heard of swoof) If a reader who shall not be named happened to be devouring books as a coping mechanism to diffuse stress caused by an inability to swoof, well… it’s a vicious cycle, friends. Heaven sakes, I’m stressing myself out just thinking about it! Talk me off the ledge, Carrie!

(Repeat after me, Beth. The swoof will return. Trust the swoof.)

Let’s all take a moment and just breathe deeply. We need to give ourselves permission to read a book and occasionally only leave a couple-sentence review on retail sites. Something like, “This book is so beautiful I can’t even put my feelings into words. Except to say, ‘Read it. You’ll thank me.’” Not every review has to be a full swoof, friends. If you’re reviewing on your blog and need to fill in more space than 2 sentences, talk about a couple of favorite quotes to flesh out a longer review. In other words, employ the Dory method - Just keep swoofing!

Blogging


We love to introduce our fellow readers to books and authors but it’s not as easy as Carrie makes it look! (Note from Carrie - ha! Not easy at all!) There’s so much to learn and consider with search engine optimization and social media promotion and giveaways and updating old posts and site navigation and newsletters and sometimes this introvert gets stuck in overload. Have you ever heard of stress paralysis? (Where are my Moms’ Night Out fans?!) It’s a thing.

Give yourself grace and permission to have fun or step back
One of the first things my big sister blogger taught me was the “my blog, my rules” principle, and years later, it’s still a good reminder. If you’re struggling, know that you’re not alone and give yourself grace and permission to have fun or step back as needed. Throw together some spotlights or quick lists if you’re all out of creativity or time but still want to show love to some authors & books.

You may find, like our book sisters Rachel (@bookwormmama14) or Annie (@justcommonly), that bookstagramming will get your creative juices flowing. A little less writing, a little more space for artistic expression, and a whole lot of cover love, Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most popular platforms for spreading the book love! Whether you bookstagram as part of your book blogging or instead of (even for a season), we think you’ll continue to benefit and bless the bookish community with your enthusiasm.

JustRead Publicity-ing


Even the world of online book promotion is not immune to Covid19. At JustRead (and I’m sure other tour groups would say the same thing), we’ve had to cope with various shipping issues & delays in getting books to our instagram hosts. There have also been several delayed release dates which means long-ago-planned tour dates have to be shifted around and squeezed in on new weeks in an already-full calendar.

Communication snafus are inevitable in a world where everybody else is now adjusting to working from home too. All of these are necessary adjustments in this ‘new-for-now normal’ on top of all the ‘still normal’ to-do tasks involved with running a publicity company. And of course, we are willing to do whatever is needed right now to support the authors & books & publishers we love so much. But if we seem more frazzled than usual (because let’s face it, we’re always a bit frazzled), that’s why!

Here are a few tips which apply now more than ever! Schedule early and keep the lines of communication open. Please meet deadlines; publicity companies must juggle several tours in various stages of planning at once in a neverending cycle so the domino effect of not having what we need when we need it impacts your tour and other tours and our sanity in unattractive ways.

Play This or That with us! 

Let’s check your reader life pulse! Share your answers in the comments.

Book World Changes
Right now I want to read…
Nearly All the Time or At Least Regularly
Lighthearted with Laughing/Swooning or Deep Pondering/Suspense
Shorter Stories or Big Books
New Release or Old Favorite
Familiar Genre or Out of the Ordinary
Pandemic Reads or Anything But


What changes or challenges have y'all faced over the last several weeks? How have you made the best of these trying circumstances?



Book World Changes
Carrie and Beth
Carrie Schmidt is an avid reader, book reviewer, story addict, KissingBooks fan, book boyfriend collector, and cool aunt. She also loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. Co-founder of the Christian Fiction Readers' Retreat and JustRead Publicity Tours, Carrie lives in Kentucky with her husband Eric.
She can be found lurking at various blogs and websites (because she can't stop talking about books) but her main home is the blog she started in 2015 - ReadingIsMySuperPower.org.

Beth Erin is a Christian fiction enthusiast, book reviewer, blogger, and JustRead Publicity Tours co-owner. She strives to edify and connect with readers and authors at Faithfully Bookish and on social media.
Beth also contributes to the Seekerville, Hoarding Books, and Diversity Between the Pages blogs. She is passionate about promoting authors and their entertaining, encouraging, and redemptive stories.

Five Things to Let Go of Today By Courtney Walsh Seekerville

Annie here! I'm excited to welcome Courtney Walsh on Seekerville today! 

Five Things to Let Go of Today By Courtney Walsh  Seekerville

If life were as easy as a Disney movie, all of us would’ve figured out how to “let it go” after Elsa’s stirring and emotional power ballad. It feels like something we ought to know how to do, especially once we reach a certain age, but letting go isn’t as easy as the song suggests.

When I began work on my upcoming novel Just Let Go, I prepared with that in mind—the fact that so many of us (myself included) struggle to let go. I’m not sure why it’s human nature to hold on to things, but whether it’s tickets from your very first concert (New Kids on the Block) or a hurt that happened ages ago, we are collectors.

And some things we’re collecting are doing more harm than good. Here are five things to let go of today.

1. Grudges
Five Things to Let Go of Today By Courtney Walsh  Seekerville
Okay, this one’s a bit obvious. After all, it’s biblical to forgive and move on. But just because something is obvious doesn’t mean it’s easy, and letting go of the way we felt when someone hurt us is no small feat. We all have different methods for dealing with our pain, and when someone hurts us—especially when they don’t apologize—it can eat us up inside if we let it. We can’t let it. The hurt then compounds and becomes something even more damaging. Forgiveness, though sometimes hard to give, is always the best way to move forward.

2. Regrets

I think of regrets as grudges we hold against ourselves. It’s so easy to replay our mistakes on a continuous loop in our minds, but friends, this is a path to destruction. We all make mistakes, but dwelling on them is no way to live. Your past doesn’t determine your future unless you let it. Choose to forgive yourself, to ask for forgiveness if necessary, and make amends—and then move on as best you can. If God is love and love keeps no record of wrongs, then we shouldn’t either.

3. Unmet expectations

You know how it goes. You’re expecting something really amazing to happen—a job or promotion you’ve been waiting for, a proposal from a significant other, a pregnancy, a positive report . . . the list goes on—and that thing that’s supposed to change your life never comes. They hire someone else. He decides it’s time to move on. You never see that purple “plus sign.” We all have disappointments. We all have those things we were counting on or hoping for that don’t come through. But if you stop and look back, it may be that the closed door was actually there to guide you on your path. What if God has a different job, a spouse more suited to you, better timing for a pregnancy? These unmet expectations can turn into bitterness so easily if we cling to them with both hands. This is when “letting go” becomes synonymous with “trusting God.” Because even when it’s hard, he’s still got our very best interests at heart.

4. Control

Five Things to Let Go of Today By Courtney Walsh  SeekervilleSome of us struggle with this one more than others do. Some of us want to be in control of every aspect of our lives. The heroine in Just Let Gois neat and orderly and likes everything in its place—but life doesn’t always allow for that. Sometimes we have to let others take the lead. Sometimes we have to lay our will down in front of Jesus and let him take the lead. Life is about the give and take, and needing control in every situation is a sure recipe for disappointment. Control freaks may not find it very easy to give up their own will. Start small. Let someone else choose the restaurant. Let your kids load the dishwasher and don’t rearrange everything before starting it. Then move on to the bigger things one day at a time.

5. Perfection

Five Things to Let Go of Today By Courtney Walsh  SeekervilleOur world is full of images and phrases and people who will try to make us feel like we are not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, skinny enough. I thought this would go away after high school, but I’m forty-two and I still battle these feelings. Perfection is unattainable. It’s such a no-brainer, and yet it bears repeating—perfection is unattainable. Why, then, do we strive for the perfect home, the perfect marriage, the perfect career, the perfect body? We have this standard (set by whom?) that we think we need to attain. Friends, it’s time to let go of that. We will never be perfect. Life will never be perfect. And you know what? That’s okay. It’s not meant to be. Instead of striving for perfection, strive for goodness. Strive for happiness. Strive to please your heavenly Father instead of the strangers on the internet. And revel a little in the messiness of life . . . after all, that’s what makes it fun!

Letting go, in all of its forms, is tricky and challenging, and it takes practice. Day by day, little by little, if you find ways to let go of these things, life will be fuller and more relaxed.


Can you think of one thing you’re holding on to that you could let go of today? Maybe we could take baby steps together? 


Five Things to Let Go of Today By Courtney Walsh  Seekerville
Courtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theatre director, and playwright. Just Let Go will be her eighth inspirational romance novel. Her debut, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. A creative at heart, Courtney has also written two craft books and several full-length musicals. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three children. Visit her online at www.courtneywalshwrites.com.


About the Book:

Five Things to Let Go of Today By Courtney Walsh  SeekervilleFor Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe, Michigan, fulfills a childhood dream but also gives her the chance to follow in the footsteps of her mother, who owned the store before leaving town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also preparing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.

Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community service sentence seems like the quickest way out—and the best way to avoid more negative press.

Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s way too uptight. Yet as the two begin working together, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost in his pursuit of Olympic gold. When a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town—and Quinn’s life—possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn has to choose: let go or risk missing the adventure of a lifetime.

Includes discussion questions.

You can find out more and to purchase the book on Tyndale's website HERE.

Five Things to Let Go of Today By Courtney Walsh  Seekerville

Tyndale House Publishers is giving away one copy of Just Let Go to one reader. Just leave a comment for Courtney or whatever you'd like to share to enter. Winner will be announced in the Seekerville WE this Saturday. (Sorry, US mailing addresses only.)

Word of the Year--Change


Word of the Year--Change
Hearts Entwined
CHANGE

I recently had a very successful young businessman give me a truly inspiring talk about CHANGE.

It was so encouraging I've decided to choose it for my ONE WORD for 2018.

The businessman said change was the true secret to great success. We shouldn’t just accept change, maybe begrudgingly, maybe with fear, we should SEEK IT OUT.
Because when we change…our jobs…our goals...our routines...we grow.
We make ourselves more knowledgeable. More VALUABLE.
We know more. We build our own confidence. We inspire other people to have confidence in us because they see us taking a chance, striving, daring to stretch and learn.

Word of the Year--Change
And we inspire other people to make their own changes. To take their own chances.

I'm struck by how similar the words CHANGE and CHANCE are. We have to take a chance if we're going to change. And taking a chance feels reckless, risky.

But we have to change to learn, risk and broaden our knowledge of the whole.

He works as a businessman as I said, in a huge company. A company where he started at the ground floor. And I’ve watched him get almost every promotion that has come his way. I’ve also seen him leave a job he was very comfortable in, trade jobs even, with a person in another department, not for a raise or because his boss told him too, but so he could learn about that section of the company.

He’s dared me to try and change. Or maybe more fair to say, I've talked about being afraid of change and he's encouraged me.

Oh, I’m going to keep writing Romantic Comedy with Cowboys. I just love it too much and there seems to be a MARKET for it!!!  :)

But I might just stretch myself within that genre. I've got a really fun idea for the next series that I think will be a little tricky, a lot of fun and I hope I can pull it off.

Word of the Year--Change
In Bookstores Now-Or Order Online
Do you ever have a conflict in your book that's so HUGE so REAL that you don't want to choose it because you don't know how you'll ever get the couple together?

That's the kind of thing I've got in mind...sort of.

But that's only a little bit of a change, the big change is, I’ve got some finished books on my computer that are (brace yourself!!!) NOT historical western romantic comedy. They’re contemporary romantic suspense…with Texas Lawmen and some sass…so the change isn’t wildly radical. Just fun and different.

I’ve been polishing these books. Books I had written before my first contract. Back then I had twenty unpublished, finished books on my computer. I’ve now sold all but five.

Word of the Year--Change
Coming in April-Preorder Now!
And I've edited and revised and reworked them to make them up-to-date--I had to give everyone a cell phone, that kind of thing.

And now, with no excuses to be seen, I am scared to release them, I suppose indy pubbed right? But it’s a big change and I’m going to do it right, make sure not to trample on my other books coming out.

I’ve got one that released in January, then April and May…then October…so I’m not sure when to do it. How fast to do it. How much to charge. How to get a nice cover. How to be sure the books are well edited….OH THE PAIN AND TERROR OF CHANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Except wait! Didn’t I just say I should embrace it, even SEEK IT!!!!??? I did say that didn’t I?

So, yeah, my very nice, wise, successful businessman son-in-law says to embrace change. I’m gonna do it!

Sometime!!! Probably!!!

Let’s talk about CHANGE! Do you need to seek out change in your writing life? Or what have you changed that worked out right?
Word of the Year--Change
Coming in May-Preorder Now

What do you think about the changes in Seekerville?

Word of the Year--Change


Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of my newest release, a novella collection with Karen Witemeyer, Melissa Jagears, Regina Jennings and ME!!! It’s called Hearts Entwined. The covers I've added are what's coming up for me.

Hearts Entwined releasing now! Today!
The Accidental Guardian releasing in April.
All for Love contains the novella pre-quell to my Cimarron Legacy Series. 
It's available now as an ebook, but it will be in print...in a book...for the first time in May. I've had so many people ask me if that novella would ever come out in a physical book and now the answer is YES. SOON!
A little bit about the current release

Hearts Entwined
Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor. In Karen Witemeyer's "The Love Knot," Claire Nevin gets the surprise of her life awaiting her sister's arrival by train. Mary Connealy's "The Tangled Ties That Bind" offers the story of two former best friends who are reunited while escaping a cranky mama buffalo. Regina Jennings offers "Bound and Determined," where a most unusual trip across barren Oklahoma plains is filled with adventure, romance, and . . . camels? And Melissa Jagears' "Tied and True" entertains with a tale of two hearts from different social classes who become entwined at a cotton thread factory.

Each tale is a fun blend of history and romance that will delight readers.

Seekerville - The Journey Continues

Seekerville - The Journey Continues
Mary Connealy
Today is a day of big changes on Seekerville--the Journey Continues.

Seekerville will now MOSTLY be Monday, Wednesday and Friday...Plus the Weekend Edition...though we've got guests who will fill in some of those Tuesdays and Thursday. 
Today is a Tuesday after all...so see? We've got flexibility here so keep stopping in to see what's new!!!

Join us while we try and inspire you and each other to make our own changes in our writing...increase our skills. 
To take chances. To learn, risk and broaden our knowledge. And how can we not change as we learn more? But it's scary. 


In the spirit of courage about change, let me introduce to you the ladies who are joining us on this continued journey.



Seekerville - The Journey ContinuesMelanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author who combines her love for all things Medieval with her love of fairy tales, and combines her love for Jane Austen with romantic suspense. She is a Christy Award winner, a two-time Maggie Award winner, winner of The National Reader's Choice Award and the Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor's degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee, and English to adults in Germany and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing stories of love and adventure near Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her on the web at http://www.MelanieDickerson.com.


Seekerville - The Journey Continues
Jan Drexler is a long-time Seekervillager who credits the ladies of Seekerville for giving her the tools she needed to launch her writing career. In her former life she was a Homeschool Mom, but was forced into retirement when her youngest son graduated from high school. That’s when a computer and a deep well of family stories to draw from inspired her to delve into a long-held dream of writing historical fiction with Amish characters. When she isn’t writing she spends much of her time satisfying her cross-stitch addiction or hiking and enjoying the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband of more than thirty-five years. Her writing partner is her Corgi, Thatcher, who makes life…interesting.

Links:
Twitter: @JanDrexler




Seekerville - The Journey Continues
Beth Erin is a Christian fiction enthusiast, book reviewer, and blogger. She is passionate about promoting authors and their entertaining, encouraging, and redemptive stories. Beth strives to edify and connect with readers and authors at Faithfully Bookish and on social media. She also contributes to the Hoarding Books & Diversity Between the Pages blogs. Beth is a Christian Fiction Readers Retreat associate and reviewer for RT Book Review's inspy category.

Beth lives with her husband and their four children in a close-knit rural southern Illinois farming community. They love their laid-back lifestyle and small country church family. When she isn’t reading, Beth enjoys indulging in a favorite show or movie with her family, completing DIY projects with her husband, and seeing the country on long family road trips. You can connect with her on Faithfully BookishFacebook, and other social media platforms @betherin02!



Seekerville - The Journey Continues
Winnie Griggs is the award-winning author of Historical and Contemporary romances that focus on Small Towns, Big Hearts, Amazing Grace.  She has released over 25 titles since her debut in 2001 and her work has won a number of regional and national awards, including a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award.  Winnie also pens a regular writing how-to column for a regional publication, The Minute Magazine.

On a personal note, Winnie grew up in southeast Louisiana in an area her friends thought of as the back of beyond.  She and her siblings spent many hours exploring the overgrown land around her home, cutting jungle trails, building forts and frontier camps, and looking for pirate ships on the nearby bayou.   Once she ‘grew up’ she found other outlets for dealing with all those wonderful, adventurous, imaginary friends by filling notebooks with their stories. 

Eventually she found her own Prince Charming, a rancher whose white steed takes the form of a tractor and whose kingdom is situated in a small rural community she loves to call home. Together they built their own storybook happily-ever-after, one that includes four now-grown children who are happily pursing adventures of their own.

You can connect with Winnie on facebook at www.facebook.com/WinnieGriggs.Author or email her at winnie@winniegriggs.com


Seekerville - The Journey Continues
Just Commonly, AKA Annie is an avid reader turned blogger.  She is the mind behind  Just Commonly  blog, sharing what she loves most - Jesus & all things book and bookish . She’s a big fan of all Christian fiction, as well as books in the Young Adult, Middle Grade and even Kids Fiction genre. She’ll test out recipes from cookbooks and share thoughts from biographies to books on nutrition, spiritual help or just any book that struck her fancy. Next to reading, her other interests includes spending time with family and friends, eating, playing with her miniature schnauzer pups, Gabby and Reagan, and somehow challenge her non-existent athletic abilities to improve (tremendously) her tennis and golf game. 


Annie is proud to be one of the founding stewards of the  Christian Fiction Readers Retreat  (CFRR). CFRR is a one day event gathering of Christian Fiction readers and authors, with a focus theme of “Honoring God through Christian Fiction."  It features speaker sessions, author panels, breakout sessions, prayer & worship and author signings.  You can reach Annie on her blog, Just Commonly , Facebook , Twitter  or Instagram.


Seekerville - The Journey Continues


Three-time Carol Award nominee, Mindy Obenhaus, writes contemporary romance for Love Inspired Books. She’s passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren at her Texas ranch.

Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com




Seekerville - The Journey Continues
Carrie Schmidt is an avid reader, book reviewer, story addict, KissingBooks fan, book boyfriend collector, and cool aunt. She also loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. A reviewer for RT Book Reviews and a co-founder of the Christian Fiction Readers' Retreat, Carrie lives in Kentucky with her husband Eric and their quirky dog Zuzu. She can be found lurking at various blogs and websites (because she can't stop talking about books) but her main home is the blog she started in 2015 - ReadingIsMySuperPower.org. You can also connect with Carrie on Facebook @ meezcarriereads and everywhere else social at @meezcarrie. 


Seekerville - The Journey Continues
Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. She’s a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota, and she is married to her total opposite and soul mate! When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. You can connect with her at her website, www.ericavetsch.com where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/EricaVetschAuthor/ where she spends way too much time!



Please welcome the ladies accompanying Seekerville on this continued journey and then let’s talk about CHANGE! Do you need to seek out change in your writing life? Or what have you changed that worked out right?

Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of my newest release, a novella collection with Karen Witemeyer, Melissa Jagears, Regina Jennings and ME!!! It’s called Hearts Entwined. The covers I've added are what's coming up for me.

Hearts Entwined releasing now! Today!

The Accidental Guardian releasing in April.
All for Love contains the novella prequel to my Cimarron Legacy Series. 
It's available now as an ebook, but it will be in print...in a book...for the first time in May. I've had so many people ask me if that novella would ever come out in a physical book and now the answer is YES. SOON!





Hearts Entwined releasing now! Today!
Seekerville - The Journey Continues
In Bookstores Now-Or Order Online

Hearts Entwined


Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor. In Karen Witemeyer's "The Love Knot," Claire Nevin gets the surprise of her life awaiting her sister's arrival by train. Mary Connealy's "The Tangled Ties That Bind" offers the story of two former best friends who are reunited while escaping a cranky mama buffalo. Regina Jennings offers "Bound and Determined," where a most unusual trip across barren Oklahoma plains is filled with adventure, romance, and . . . camels? And Melissa Jagears' "Tied and True" entertains with a tale of two hearts from different social classes who become entwined at a cotton thread factory.
Each tale is a fun blend of history and romance that will delight readers.




Seekerville - The Journey Continues
Coming in April-Preorder Now!




















Seekerville - The Journey Continues
Coming in May-Preorder Now


A Story is BornRevamping: strategies for success in a changing worldAre You Thinking About a Change?Book World ChangesFive Things to Let Go of Today By Courtney Walsh  SeekervilleWord of the Year--ChangeSeekerville - The Journey Continues

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